Friday, January 12, 2018

Cooking Pot Roast

Plate of roast and green beans
People think of the Midwest as a monolith of meat and potatoes, and there was ample evidence of that when I was growing up in rural Illinois. Plenty of kids I knew sat down to a cadence of meatloaf, Sloppy Joe's, Salisbury steak. Repeat. My mom served at least one meat dish a night because my Dad couldn't bear a meal without Spicy Fried Beef, Chicken Stew, or some other carnivorous option. Every once in a while, she would rotate in a pot roast flavored with the holy trinity: cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon. To this day, it is my favorite beef dish.

When I started cooking for myself, I learned that braising beef includes a simple two-part process. The first involves searing meat to produce a full-flavored, outer crust. Then the meat is slow cooked in the oven or on the stove until it (or other tough cuts of meat) become ooh-la-la tender. All that's needed to pull it off is a heavy pot with a snugly fitted lid and a large pair of tongs.

How to Braise Beef

With a paper towel, pat the meat dry on all sides.
Season it with salt and pepper or your favorite spice rub.

Season beef with salt and pepper

Coat the bottom of a heavy pot with a thin layer of oil and place it over medium-high heat.

Using tongs, lower the meat into the pot.

Use tongs to lower meat into pot
Sear the bottom side. Rotate the meat and repeat until all sides are browned.

Sear meat

Remove meat from the pot and place it on a plate.

Let meat rest

Add aromatics and spices to the pot. Here, I’m using onions, garlic, cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon.  Cook until the onions start to soften.

Add aromatics
Add a liquid (such as water, wine, stock, or a combination) and stir to scrap off any bits of meat or onion sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Place the meat back into the pot.

Place meat back into pot
Cover it with a tight-fitting lid. Continue to cook on the stove top or place in a low oven (about 300 degrees) until the meat becomes tender. Store leftover braised beef in its braising liquid to prevent the meat from drying out.

This article was originally published on 
Advance purchase required!
Book your Chicago Food Tour today!
buy tickets at zerve
or call Zerve at (800) 979-3370